The Smarter Way To Shop J.Crew

jcrew embedPhoto: Courtesy of J.Crew.
J.Crew's gotten a lot of flak for its prices, which have risen steadily since the glory days of the $40 roll-neck sweater. The brand's CEO Mickey Drexler even answered the criticism recently by promising "friendlier" prices this spring. And, while common wisdom is to wait for one of J.Crew's legendarily generous sales, what do you do when you need those tuxedo-stripe, toothpick jeans now? Turns out, there's no need to wait — and, strategy is everything.
We spoke to Hukkster, a site that lets you track products you love and alerts you when they go on sale, and got some juicy intel on J.Crew's "sale cadence." Turns out that J.Crew offers select, full-price merchandise at a temporary discount a whopping 15.6 days out of every month when you enter a special code at checkout. The codes are typically good for an entire category of merchandise, such as women's shoes or coats, and J.Crew dishes out an average of 4.5 codes, available to any savvy shopper, each month — that means at least one per week. To clarify, some codes are good for additional discounts on sale merch, while others are good for items that have not yet gone on sale (so, no more scrambling for the last fatigue jacket in your size the moment it's discounted).
Thanks to these codes, over 50% of all J.Crew merchandise can be accessed at a deeper discount than the price listed on site. The average promotion offers 30% off the ticket price, but 40% off isn't unheard of, either. Promotions typically last six days — sort of like mini-flash sales.
We know savvy shoppers are no stranger to discount codes — but, we admit we don't usually take advantage of them, besides the occasional "free shipping" promotion. This info has definitely inspired us to double-down on our online digging before we place an order — because chances are, there's almost always a way to get a way better price.
Now, if you do decide to wait for a sale, we can also predict exactly how long you'll be waiting. Click on to find out how (and, to see what your size has to do with the price you'll pay)...
jcrew page 2Photo: Courtesy of J.Crew.
The length of time before a full-price product is marked down without a coupon code varies depending on the type of merchandise. According to Hukkster, "seasonal items usually live for four to six weeks before they're marked down, while a basic item can live at full price for six to 12 weeks." So, that cute coat can be yours for much less in just a few weeks — but, be patient if you're looking to stock up on tees and denim.
Furthermore, those "sale's on sale" markdowns that J.Crew is famous for have gotten really good. Lately, J.Crew has been discounting its sale merchandise by an additional 50% off the sale price — that's the deepest discount Hukkster's seen to date. If you're a so-called "fringe size" (i.e., extra small or extra large), you have the best chance of finding items at these super-sales.
So, to sum it up: When there is no sale, you can create your own by tracking down a coupon code. Do it, even if it takes you to the deepest reaches of the web — or, you know, actually open your J.Crew promo e-mails — or you're leaving a 30-to-40% discount on the table. If you're willing to wait for a sale, and if your size is on the upper or lower end of J.Crew's size spectrum, then sit back and wait for the truly deep discounts to roll in. And, finally, a site like Hukkster can help hook you up with coupon codes — and sale-stalk the items you like, so you don't have to. So, there you have it, budget-minded J.Crew fans. Those prices are suddenly looking a whole lot friendlier to us...

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